Finally, that month I spent watching exclusively Nicolas Cage films paid off.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was released in 2022 and was directed by Tom Gormican. The film stars Nicolas Cage as himself, Pedro Pascal as Javi Gutierrez, and Tiffany Haddish as Vivian. After being rejected for a new film role, and on the verge of retiring, Nicolas Cage takes a job for $1 million to attend a fan’s birthday party. Things escalate when Cage is recruited by the C.I.A. to help them go undercover inside a ruthless cartel.
Cage absolutely steals the show through the runtime, easily in his top five best performances. The story itself is very meta, and the main factor in its success relies heavily on Cage, who was the perfect actor for this plot. Some of the best moments come from scenes in which Cage is talking to a younger version of himself which, again, are not only awesome but, add to his stellar character development. It’s a really weird thing to write, but it’s very refreshing to see an actor be so self-aware, yet able to blend this fictitious version of himself with his real-life counterpart.
The supporting cast is great as well, specifically Pascal as a Cage superfan. Cage and Pascal’s chemistry is fantastic, always keeping you invested, and moving the story forward. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) makes an appearance, more so a glorified cameo, as Cage’s assistant, and he’s great as well.
The script marvelously perfects the self-aware tone in exciting, and creative functions. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but the way it incorporates clichés into the story is done quite tastefully. There are plenty of moments that poke fun at the idea of its own existence but never in a way that treats the audience with disrespect.
The use of callbacks and references to Cage’s past work was done well, and the film never relies on nostalgia to push the narrative along. The screenwriters clearly did their research, as there were some references to movies I didn’t think anyone other than me would have known about.
An area that would make or break Talent would be its comedy, luckily, this aspect succeeds tremendously as well. The jokes all add to a character’s development, or the story as a whole, never waiting around for the audience to laugh.
The cinematography stood out, rarely taking the easy route, with fun transitions and giving the audience something intriguing to look at. The costume department deserves props as well, Cage is always wearing something the ONLY Cage would wear. It was awesome.
Here and there, there are some small issues, but there was never anything to take away my suspense of disbelief. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent could have easily been a misfire, yet, somehow it came out on top. I took a few days after seeing the film to write this review so that I could take the time to make the appropriate comments. My conclusion? It makes me really happy this movie exists and would love to see more features like this in the future.
[My Grade for The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is an A+]